How Long Does it Take for a Tree to Grow?

So how long does it take a little seedling to grow into a fully fledged tree? Now we know our speciality is geared towards the removal of trees, but we equally love to see them grow and flourish in the right way. Seeds have evolved into a wide range of sizes and forms in order to be carried by the wind, water, or animals. Within each seed is all the nourishment it needs to sustain itself until it reaches a safe location to develop. So let’s find out how long they take to grow:

tree sapling

How Long Does it Take for a Tree to Grow?

So depending on the type of tree, they all grow at different rates. Essentially, once a tree reaches maturity, it will start to produce its own fruits and flowers. This process is when the tree is most productive – how long it stays like this depends on the species of the tree. If you live in the UK, you’ll see trees like English oak. These typically start producing acorns after 40 years of growth and will be most productive after 80-120 years!

acorn seed

Seed Germination

This is the process a seed undergoes to sprout and grow. The first stage of germination is when the seed absorbs water and swells. This is followed by the production of enzymes that break down stored food in the seed so that it can be used for growth.

Then, the radicle (or embryonic root) breaks through the seed coat and starts to grow downwards into the soil. After this, the hypocotyl (or embryonic stem) grows upwards towards the light, pushing the cotyledons (seed leaves) through the soil surface.

seed germination

The seedling turns into a sapling

Depending on the species of tree, it can take anywhere from 6 months to 2 years for a sapling to reach over 3ft tall. The tree growth stage varies from species to species, but saplings have certain features in common:

  • Their trunks are flexible
  • The bark of the tree is smoother in comparison to mature trees
  • It isn’t able to produce its own fruit or flowers yet.

At this stage, the sapling is vulnerable to grazing animals, so they have

to be able to grow without the risk of them being eaten.

tree saplings growing

Mature Tree

A tree is considered to be fully grown once it reaches its maximum height. For some trees, this can be as little as 10 years, while others may take over 40 years. Once a tree has reached maturity, it will start to produce its own flowers and fruits.

The lifespan of a tree also varies depending on the species. Some trees can live for hundreds, or even thousands of years – the oldest recorded tree was a Great Basin bristlecone pine in the White Mountains of California, which is believed to be over 5,000 years old.

Factors that contribute to the growth of a tree

Trees are growing organisms that are constantly changing. They grow in response to environmental factors like light, temperature, moisture, and nutrients in the soil.


One of the most important factors for tree growth is light. Trees need sunlight to produce food for themselves through photosynthesis. The amount of light a tree needs depends on the species – some trees, like Douglas firs, can grow in shady areas, while others, like maples, need full sun.


Temperature also plays a role in tree growth. Most trees prefer moderate temperatures and won’t grow well in extreme heat or cold.


Trees also need moisture to survive – they use water to transport nutrients from the soil to their leaves and help cool themselves down in hot weather. Too much or too little water can be detrimental to tree growth.

Soil nutrients

Finally, trees need nutrients from the soil to grow. They absorb these through their roots and use them to produce leaves, branches, and bark. Nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium are essential for tree growth.

soil nutrients for tree growth

How do scientists measure tree growth?

There are several ways that scientists can measure tree growth. The most common method is by measuring the diameter of the trunk at breast height (DBH). This is done by measuring the distance around the trunk of a tree at 1.3m above the ground. Tree height can also be measured by using a laser or tape measure.

Tips To Boost Growth Rate

Most trees have a consistent rate of growth. You can assist them if they are having difficulties, though. Here are some suggestions to help your tree grow faster:

  • Add organic matter to the soil – This can be in the form of compost, manure, or other organic materials.
  • Make sure the tree is getting enough water – Water stress can slow down growth.
  • Fertilize the tree – This will give the tree the nutrients it needs to grow.
  • Prune the tree – Pruning can encourage new growth.
  • Protect the tree from pests and diseases – These can damage the tree and slow down growth.
mulch for tree growth

Taking Care of Your Tree

So, how long does it take for a tree to grow? It’s impossible to say precisely, but a young tree will need many years to mature.

Trees don’t need really need assistance to grow since they’ve been doing so effectively for millennia before we arrived. That being said, a city isn’t really the best environment for a tree to thrive in, therefore you may need to assist it along during its development.

Trees are relatively simple to take care of, so make sure you give yours the basic necessities and it will reward you by growing tall and strong.

tree growing in garden